I moved to Mauritius at the age of 19 to study medicine. Even though it was just a 4-hour flight from my home Johannesburg, it felt like worlds apart. Here are the five main things I learned over the past five years…
1. You will get homesick
This may seem like an obvious one, but as a 19-year-old leaving home and the clutches of my parents sounded like heaven. I thought, ‘hell yeah FREEDOM!’. I partied with my new friends and had so much fun that I forgot about college. Then one day reality hit and s#*t got real. I realized that I was all alone in a foreign country, far away from home. I had never missed my family more. I would draw up calendars and count down the days till vacation to go home. I found that my home sickness faded in and out at different times, but it’s true what they say: absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
2. You still need to work hard!
Everyone would say to me: “you’re on a tropical island, it can’t be that hard!” Well, it was difficult. Going to college, coming home, cooking, cleaning and studying every day take work! My cooking skills were put to the test – ramen noodles, canned beans and cheese were my best friends. And for the times when I felt fancy, I called up the pizza place down the road – yep we were on a first name basis. Now, I consider myself a clean person, but cleaning became the ‘push it under the bed’ rule and laundry became the ‘wear that t-shirt till you can’t any more” rule.